What is a vice?

What Does Vice Mean

We explain what vices are, how they are related to addictions and virtue. Also, its meaning in language and its legal meaning.

What is considered a vice depends on the cultural and social context.

What is a vice?

A vice is any kind of flaw, defect or bad habit , especially with regard to conducts considered moral and immoral. What in some societies may be considered vicious, in others may be acceptable or normal. That is, it largely depends on its context and the social and moral values with which it is evaluated.

Commonly, vices are associated with illegality and danger , as well as bad living activities, such as some addictions. Acts such as the recreational use of alcohol , tobacco and other substances , as well as drug addiction, or even bad personal behaviors, such as lying, selfishness or ridicule, are usually considered as vices.

Similarly, in the case of English jurisprudence , the word vice ("vice") is used to refer to minor criminal acts: prostitution, gambling, debauchery and obscenity. Instead, according to Christian morality, for example, vices would be linked to capital sins and other attitudes considered sinful or inappropriate.

However, the term vice is also used in popular language to refer to an activity that is carried out with too much enthusiasm , or through which we are able to forget about the rest of the world: “dancing is a vice for me”, “that game it is addicting ”, and so on.

See also: Universal values

Vices and addictions

Smoking may seem more harmless but it causes serious illnesses.

Although many of today's addictions are traditionally viewed as vices, they are not necessarily so. This is because addictions are behaviors that are beyond the control of the people who suffer from them . Therefore, they are true diseases, and not simply in reprehensible or immoral behavior.

Some of these addictions are:

  • Drug addiction. Also called drug addiction, it is the compulsive consumption of narcotic or psychotropic substances, generally illegal (although there is also addiction to legal drugs), which prompts individuals to sacrifice everything in their life in order to obtain an increasing dose of the drug. substance.
  • Alcoholism . This is the name given to alcohol addiction and the behavioral changes it causes. Alcoholic people cannot refrain from consuming some type of liquor, and with each consumption the effect on their body is accentuated, causing more physical damage and deteriorating behavior with fewer and fewer amounts consumed.
  • Gambling Gambling addiction, generally to games of invite and chance, but it can literally be any game that must be played compulsively, regardless of the consequences of the bets made, which naturally leads to the loss of what is owned and it can be the gateway to other compensatory addictions.
  • Smoking Cigarette addiction may seem like the most harmless addiction on the list, but the components of cigarettes are known to be carcinogenic and linked to various cardiorespiratory or vascular diseases.

Language vices

Another meaning of the word "vice" has to do with the sloppy use of language, that is, with certain forms of speech or even writing that disfigure speech , contradict grammatical norms or hinder understanding. This is called "language vices", and some examples are:

  • The pleonasm. This is the name given to the use of redundancies and words "to spare" in a sentence , as in the case of "Yesterday I went to Pedro's house to pick up the scarf that Pedro lent me", where the second allusion to Pedro is unnecessary, since that information can be inferred from the first.
  • The apocope. By apocope it is understood to the elision of some letters within a word, to gain in speed or in loudness, but that in some cases it can rather play a trick. This is the case of the use of "primer" instead of "primer" for a female referent: "this is the first time I do it", instead of the correct "this is the first time I do it".
  • The queísmo and dequeísmo. Both phenomena consist, respectively, in the unnecessary subtraction or addition of the grammatical particle "of" in certain types of sentences. It is called queísmo when it is omitted, substituting “that” for “that”, and dequeísmo when the opposite is done. For example, it is thatism to say "I know what they realized" instead of "I know what they realized"; while it is dequeísmo to say “Then Pablo told me that he loved me” instead of “Then Pablo told me that he loved me”.

Vices of the will

An act performed under intimidation is not voluntary.

In legal language, it is common to speak of vices of the will or vices of consent. They are certain conditions that prevent an act from being considered by a court as voluntary and conscious . That is, elements that, when given, invalidate the argument that the person did what he did under his own will.

These vices are in general the following:

  • Ignorance or error. A person who ignores the consequences or the meanings of an action cannot be judged for having committed them consciously, but for having made a mistake, that is, for having made a false idea of it.
  • Dolo. It refers to simulation, dissimulation and deception, or in general to the tricks, cunning and machinations of any of the parties, which would mean that the person did not carry out an action voluntarily, but was deceived.
  • Violence or intimidation. Actions carried out under irresistible force or a well-founded fear of punishment or dishonor cannot be considered voluntary either.

Vice and virtue

If the vices are our "negative" or "immoral" habits, that is, those that disqualify us from an ideal of society, the virtues are the opposite. A virtue is a personality trait held high , altruistic, or desirable. In certain religious imaginary they constitute the opposite of sin, that is, the features that guarantee salvation.

In fact, Christianity possesses its theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity. In other areas, responsibility , generosity, honesty and punctuality are considered virtues.

More in: Virtue

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